Similar texting and driving bills may be on collision course - KOTA Territory News

Similar texting and driving bills may be on collision course

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by Jack Siebold, Mytown Editor

A texting and driving ban bill has pulled out of the garage Wednesday.  Well, actually it pulled out of the South Dakota Senate Transportation Committee.  The committee voted 5-1 to move Senate Bill 179 to the floor for full debate.

The bill makes texting while driving a petty offense but instead of the traditional $25 fine, it would be $100.  The bill's sponsor, Senator Mike Vehle (R-District 20) says he believes it is stiff enough of a penalty to get people's attention; figuring the petty fine of $25 isn't enough to deter texting and driving.

However, Vehle added, "It's not about tickets.  It's not about fines.  It's about a change in culture.  Don't text and drive.  We did that with seat belts, we did that with drinking."

The Senate bill could be on a collision course with a similar bill that has already cleared the House.  House Bill 1177, sponsored by Representative Brian Gosch (R-District 32), also bans texting but differs in the fact it also bars cities and counties from enacting their own ordinances related to distracted driving.  Vehle's bill allows cities and counties to pass their own ordinances as long as they are at least as strict as the state's.

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